Publications by the Center for Ancient Studies

Below are conference papers from the conferences/symposia organized by the Center for Ancient Studies.

Against Gravity: Building Practices in the Pre-Industrial World


Robert Ousterhout, Dorian Borbonus, and Elisha Dumser, editors
Publication date: January, 2016
University of Pennsylvania, Phialdelphia, PA

Following on the success of “Masons at Work” (held in spring 2012, and published online (below), the symposium will gather specialists to examine building practices in the pre-industrial world, with an emphasis on Greek, Roman, Byzantine, medieval, and pre-modern Islamic architecture. Building practices will be considered in a variety of ways: examining regional and local trends, considering specific architectonic forms, practices of construction, cultural interaction, and wider considerations of the built landscape and change over the longue durée.
Table of Contents
  • Building the City of Rome
    • Stephan Zink, "A New Archaic Building at the Site of the Palatine Sanctuary of Apollo: Documentation, Reconstruction, and Interpretation" Abstract
    • Margaret Andrews, "Augustus in the Subura: The Monumental and the Mundane" Abstract | 
    • Dorian Borbonus, "Building and Using Columbarium Tombs in Augustan Rome" Abstract | 
    • Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt, "Creating 'Hanging Gardens'" Abstract | 
  • Arches, Vaults, Trusses
    • Hansgeorg Bankel, "The Augustan Aqueduct of Minturnae in Southern Latium and Other Researches Made by 'competent students of architecture'" Abstract | 
    • Alexander von Kienlin, "Forgotten Constructions: Wide Spanning Trusses in Imperial Rome" Abstract | 
    • Lynne Lancaster, "Lightweight Terracotta Vaulting Elements: Tracing Technology Transfer in the Western Mediterranean, 3rd c. BCE- 1st c. CE" Abstract | 
  • Building Materials and Methods
    • Elisha Dumser, "The Influence of Reuse on Late Roman Architectural Practices" Abstract | 
    • Thomas Morton, "Two-Piece Capitals: How the Examples from Roman Africa Stack Up" Abstract | 
    • Klaus Rheidt, "Large Stones- Big Challenge?" Abstract | 
  • Greece
    • Betsey Robinson, "Building a Better Cave: Lessons from Corinth" Abstract | 
    • Mark Wilson Jones, "Considerations of a Structure in the Reconstruction of Greek Architecture" Abstract | 
    • Hermann Kienast, "Roofing Without Timber- The Tower of the Winds in Athens" Abstract | 
    • Charles Williams II, "Roman Construction Principles of the Second-Century Stage Building at Corinth" Abstract | Paper
  • Regional Considerations: The Caucausus
    • Armen Kazaryan, "Architectural Ideas and Metamorphoses of Technique in the Ani School of Armenian Architecture of the Bagratid Era" Abstract | Paper
    • David Khoshtaria, "The Squinch in the Architecture of the Caucasus" Abstract | Paper
    • Andrey Vinogradov, Denis Beletsky, Denis Jolshin, "Use of the Brick in the Medieval Caucasus Architecture" Abstract | Paper
  • Islamic Vaulting Inside and Out
    • Hadi Safaeipour, Gholamhossein Memarian, and Mohammadreza Bermanian, "Evolution from a Squinch to a Vault: Understanding Patkâné Vaulting Essence through Analyzing Primitive Cases in Iranian Plateau" Abstract | Paper
    • Lorenz Korn, "Interior Space and Verticality in the Architecture of Iranian Dome Chambers" Abstract | Paper
    • Bernard O'Kane, "From Workshop to Architecture: How were Tiles Placed Correctly?" Abstract | Paper
  • Byzantine Construction
    • Anathasios Koumantos, "Wooden Reinforcements in Byzantine Masonry: A Rough Guide to Their Position and Arrangement" Abstract | Paper
    • Olga Vassi, "A Special Kind of Dome in Late Byzantine Chios: Type and Building Techniques, Tradition and Innovation" Abstract | Paper
    • Denis Jolshin, "Brick Decoration of the Churches of Kievan Rus'" Abstract | Paper
  • Construction in Historical Perspective
    • Christopher Courault, "The Masonry of the City Wall of Cordoba from the 2nd Century BC until 19th Century" Abstract | Paper
    • Mohsen Keyhanpoor and Shaghayegh Torkzaban, "A Study of Understanding the Architectural Landscape and Construction Technology in a Complex of Historical Tombs from the Thirteenth Century" Abstract | Paper
    • Sophia Germanidou and Tina Gerolymou, "The Hamam of Kyparissia, Western Messinia: An Unknown Ottoman Bath and its Structural Parts within the Frame of Local Ottoman Architecture and Topography" Abstract | Paper
  • Building Technology and Cultural Interchange
    • Anahit Ter Stepanian, "Visigothic Spain and Armenia: Masonry Considerations" Abstract | Paper
    • Michalis Kappas, "Exchanging Forms between East and West: the Case of a Middle-Fourteenth-Century Group of Masons in the Mani Peninsula" Abstract | Paper
    • Elizabeth Smith, "The Vaults of Santa Maria Novella and the Creation of Florentine Gothic" Abstract | Paper
  • Building Practices Compared
    • Alexander Nagel and Carl Nylander, "Reading Mason's Marks and Building Technologies at Achaemenid Persepolis, Iran" Abstract | Paper
    • Angeliki Mexia, "Building Practices in a Helladic Province during the Comnenian Period: The Case of the Mani Peninsula/Southern Peloponnese" Abstract | Paper
    • Amenah Abdulkarim, "Building Practices in Light of Mamluk Documents" Abstract | Paper
    • Robert Ousterhout, "The Red Church at Sivrihisar (Cappadoccia): Aspects of Structure and Construction" Abstract | Paper
  • Water Management
    • James Riley Snyder, "(Re)constructing Aqueduct Construction: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach to Building Evidence for the Water Supply of Constantinople Abstract | Paper
    • Gül Kale, "Between Intuition and Reason: Extracting Hidden Waters and Employing Mason's Calculation in the Building of Ottoman Waterways" Abstract | Paper
    • Charles Stewart, "Modular Design in the Vaulting of Early Byzantine Cisterns and Reservoirs" Abstract | Paper
  • Approaches to Islamic Architecture
    • Renata Holod, "About Spolia" Abstract | Paper
    • Suna Çağaptay, "Building Practices and Cultural Interchange in Medieval Anatolia" Abstract | Paper
    • Marco Brambilla, "Tepe Nur, an Unknown Ilkhanid Monument in Sultaniyya" Abstract | Paper
  • Immaterial to Material
    • Samuel Holzman, "Bauforschung in 3D- Building a Temple in the 'Modeling Hermogenes' Seminar" Abstract | Paper
    • Philip Stinson, "Discovering Materiality Through Structure from Motion (SfM) Technology in Roman Architectural Contexts at Aphrodisias Turkey" Abstract | Paper
    • Rory O'Neill, "Gothic on the Move: Reading Seismic Re-Adaptation in the Medieval Latin Churches of Cyprus" Abstract | Paper
  • Deconstruction-Reconstruction
    • Angela Commito, Felipe Rojas, Maya Sorabjee, and Abigail Stoner, "Building Big at Labraunda: Vernacular Monumental Architecture in Hellenistic Anatolia" Abstract | Paper
    • Katja Piesker, "Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing the 'Temple of Dionysus' in Side, Pamphylia" Abstract | Paper
    • Sami Kayani, "A Study of the Use of Historical Antique Elements inside Masjid Al Haram, Mecca" Abstract | Paper


Masons at Work
Masons at Work poster

Robert Ousterhout, Renata Holod, and Lothar Haselberger, editors
Arthur Thourson Jones, associate editor
Publication date: October 2012
University of Pennsylvania, Phialdelphia, PA

This symposium (original Program of Speakers and poster) assembled specialists in various fields to examine building practices in the pre-modern world, with an emphasis on aspects of construction and structure in ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, medieval, and early-to-middle period Islamic architecture. While some technologies and built forms may be shared across pre-modern cultures (such as vault construction or the use of centering), other may be specific to a single period or region (such as the use of concrete or structural ribs in vaulting). Papers examined the problems pre-modern masons commonly encountered—and the solutions they developed—in the process of design and construction.
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Opening Papers
    • Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt, "Still Higher and More Audacious: the Architecture of the Imperial Palaces on the Palatine in Rome"Abstract | Paper
    • Lorenz Korn, "The Great Mosque of Golpaygan: Architectural Documentation and Archaeological research, 2007-2008"
    • Paper
  • Technology in Conext
    • Katja Schröck, "A Comparative Look at Stone Setting Techniques" Abstract | Paper
    • María de los Ángeles Utrero Agudo, "Building Churches in the 8th–10th Centuries in the Iberian Peninsula. Technology and Context"Abstract
    • Peter I. Schneider, "Detecting Ideas of Rationalization in Medieval Islamic Building Design: The Case of the Rizk Camii in Hasankeyf, Turkey" Abstract | Paper
  • Workshop Practices
    • David Khoshtaria, "Medieval Architectural Design and Building Process According to the Sculptural Images in Korogo Church" Abstract
    • Chris Henige, "The Contractors of Chartres Revisited" Abstract |  Paper
  • Large-Scale Experiments
    • Marco G. Brambilla, "Large Scale Building Techniques in Ilkhanid Iran" Abstract | Paper
    • Michael Davis, "Plans and Revisions: The Terrace Drawings at the Cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand" Abstract
  • Urban Buildings
    • Allyson McDavid, "Renovation and Redesign in Late Antiquity: The Hadrianic Baths of Aphrodisias" Abstract
    • Bernhard Flüge, "Construction and Conception Techniques of Residential Buildings and Urbanism in Medieval Europe around 1100 AD: The Example of Cluny, France" Abstract | Paper
    • Judith Ley, "Building Construction at the Turn from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: The Carolingian Palace in Aachen" Abstract
  • Building in Time
    • Karin Uetz, "A Close Look at the 11th Century Cross-Domed Church of St. Mark's, Venice" Abstract
    • Oleg Ioannissian and Gleb Ivakin, "Construction Materials and Building Constructions in the Architecture of Medieval Rus, from the 10th to the Beginning of the 12th Centuries" Abstract | Paper
  • God is in the Details
    • Seth Bernard, "The Two-Piece Corinthian Capital and the Strategies of the Roman Builder" Abstract | Paper
    • Stavros Mamaloukos, "Observations on Doorways and Windows in Byzantine Architecture" Abstract | Paper
    • Ahmed E. Wahby and Dina Montasser, "The Ornamented Domes of Cairo: The Mamluk
      Mason's Challenge"
      Abstract | Paper
    • Gionata Rizzi, "Masons, Masonry, and the Mysteries in the Façade of the Parma Cathedral"Abstract
  • Logistics and Materials
    • Brian Sahotsky, "Masons, Materials, and Machinery: Logistical Challenges in Roman Building" Abstract | Paper
    • Jordan Pickett, "The Energetics of Monumental Construction in the 13th Century: Four Cross-Cultural Case Studies" Abstract
  • Arches, Vaults, and Domes
    • Bernard O'Kane, "The Carved Stone Domes of Cairo" Abstract | Paper
    • Stefan Bürger, "Irregularity as a Stimulus for Order or an Impetus toward Chaos: The Virtuoso Art of Stone Masonry in the Marienkirche in Pirna" Abstract
    • Stefania Petralla, "Arches and Ribbed Vaults of the Iranian Tradition" Abstract | Paper
    • David Wendland, "Analytical and Experimental Studies on Geometric Design and Construction of Late-Gothic Vaults" Abstract
  • Architectural Transmission
    • Heather Grossman, "On Transmission and the Practice of Building in the Crusader Mediterranean" Abstract
    • Pushkar Sohoni, "Exploiting Slippage: Patronage, Building Technology, and Guilds" Abstract
  • Structure and Construction
    • Nikolaos Karydis, "Limiting the Use of Centering in Vault Construction: The Early Byzantine Churches of West Asia Minor" Abstract | Paper
    • Matthew Savage,   "Observations on a Vault Construction Technique in 9th and 10th Century Constantinople"   Abstract
    • Charles Anthony Stewart, "Flying Buttresses and Pointed Arches in Byzantine Cyprus" Abstract | Paper